Meet the island's most experienced mountain professionals.
Jan has been guiding and teaching all over the world for coming on 40 years. He spent a good half of that time exploring and guiding in the Himalayan region, with six years living in Nepal and 11 years running a helicopter skiing operation in northern India. From a circumnavigation of Denali and a ski traverse of the Wrangle St. Elias, to an ascent of Mount Asgard in the Canadian arctic and a solo summit on Pumori (7161m) in the Nepal Himalaya, his personal expeditions have taken him far and wide. Back at home on Vancouver Island he’s guided most of the major island peaks, authored a number of first ascents and taught countless islanders rock climbing, mountaineering, backcountry skiing and avalanche skills. Jan started Island Alpine Guides in 2006 and has since nurtured it into the island's premier mountain school and guide service. He is also a Guide and Mountain Safety Manager for Bella Coola Helisports, a heliskiing operation in the the BC Coast Range. Though he’s getting to be a little long in the tooth, he intends to keep on sharing his love of the mountains with his students and guests for many years to come.
By age three, Helene was already roaming Austria’s Alps with her mountain guide father, who introduced her to mountaineering, spelunking, and the joys of sliding on snow on various planks. This early initiation eventually led her to become Austria’s first female IFMGA-certified mountain guide in 1988, beginning a career that has now spanned over 36 years.
A life-long commitment to mountain exploration and guiding has resulted in a wealth of experiences, though perhaps most notable are the 33 winters Helene has spent as a heli-ski guide across BC and the Yukon. She has also spent time instructing CSGA Level 2 Ski Guide courses, and is a professional member of the Canadian Avalanche Association and ACMG. A degree in Tourism Management (1979-1981) from Klessheim (Tourism College) in Salzburg, Austria, has given her a well-rounded perspective of the outdoor tourism industry, and ultimately led her to create Canadian Adventure Tours Inc. in 1992. Helene’s understanding of team environments and individual potential make her a memorable speaker, and an inspiring instructor and guide. The word “can’t” has never been part of her vocabulary, despite a fluency in five languages. We’re thrilled to have Helene on the IAG team!
Graeme’s love of wild spaces began at an early age camping with his family and exploring Western Canada and the Yukon. His own explorations continued across Western North America, South America, the UK and Africa. For sixteen years, Graeme worked with Outward Bound Canada, starting as an instructor and later as manager of their Western Canada operations. He also works with a Victoria area private school Outdoor Ed program, and fills the time between teaching and guiding with work as a carpenter. Graeme is often noted for his calming and level-headed presence in the mountains. He enjoys coaching individuals towards self-reliance, and always does his best to ensure everyone has a great day out. Graeme is a year-round fixture on the IAG team, and is well-versed on rock, snow, and ice.
Joe is a Kootenay-raised ACMG Ski Guide who now calls Cumberland home. Over the last 15 years, he has worked for many heli, snowcat and ski touring lodges across BC and the Rockies. He loves that guiding gives him the opportunity to facilitate unique experiences for his guests, and gets excited about exploring new terrain. In a previous life Joe was a professional mountain bike athlete, which led him to ride in many far flung locales for photo shoots and competitions such as Red Bull Rampage. Joe also has a business degree with a marketing communications focus, and when he’s not guiding he works in digital marketing, managing teams designing and developing websites. Joe brings a level of excellence to everything he does, and is a true professional in the field.
Nate comes to the IAG team as an experienced military mountaineering instructor; having spent 10 years teaching and leading in the mountains with the Canadian Forces. Currently he is a professional Search and Rescue Technician, residing in the Comox Valley. Nate is one of three Canadian Forces search and rescue technicians who is fully certified as an avalanche forecaster in Canada. He also trains SAR Techs at the Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue and is responsible for the Rope Rescue Technician training that we deliver to GSAR teams as one of the Emergency BC licensed providers of these courses. He is a Primary Care Paramedic, and also works at a Cat Skiing Operation for a couple of weeks each winter. He is a CSIA ski instructor and one of our AST course instructors. He enjoys teaching motivated people the skills to building safer and more enjoyable experiences in the mountains.
Rob brings more than 20 years of professional Mountain Operations and Mountain Rescue experience to the IAG team. He recently completed a 29-year career with the Canadian Armed Forces - both with the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force. For 18 years of his military career, Rob was an RCAF Search and Rescue Technician (SAR Tech) and instructed at the Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue (CFSSAR).
Along with his many years service as a SAR Tech, Rob has been employed as a Paramedic with BC Ambulance, worked as a ski patroller, has been an expedition leader for multiple trips around Canada, the Arctic, Mt Logan, the Rockies, and in the BC Coastal Ranges. Rob is an ACMG certified Hiking Guide and Via Ferrata Guide, and Canadian Avalanche Association certified Avalanche Technician.
Rob is an instructor/examiner on our Emergency BC Rope Rescue Technician courses as well as teaching and guiding in our hiking and avalanche skills training programs. He really enjoys traveling in wild places around the planet, spending time in the mountains and being able to share these things. His extensive experience and calm, steady demeanor make him an ideal instructor and guide.
Originally from a flat farming area in southeast England, Jordan's first love for the outdoors started when he found a free copy of Captain Scott's 'Exploration of Antarctica' at a local book swap. His love and passion for wild places has only intensified each year since. After completing an Honours degree in Outdoor Education at the University of Derby, Jordan spent the next 3 years traveling the globe with the hope of finding a place to call home that would meet all of his outdoor pursuit dreams. He originally came to Canada for a short, sweet 6 months, but his love for BC propelled his desire to live here permanently. Now 10 years later, he remains in awe of what BC and Vancouver Island has to offer outdoor enthusiasts. Jordan has been working as a guide for the past 6 years in Canada. In the shoulder season, he spends his time exploring the outdoors by means of self-propelled modalities, with climbing and Splitboarding adventures high on the personal goal list. Jordan is a certified ACMG-Hiking Guide, an active member with the CAA, and an Emergency Medical Responder. If he is not in the mountains, Jordan can be found rummaging through old books in thrift stores on the hunt for timeless and inspiring recounts of other people's journeys in the mountains.
Andrew began climbing in 1998 along Colorado's Front Range and began guiding in 2004, both in Colorado and North Carolina. He is a member of both the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) and the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) and is an examiner for the former. A long-time Colorado resident, he now lives in Squamish and finds himself guiding in the Sea to Sky, the Central Coast and with IAG on Vancouver Island. Andrew's easy manner and quiet competence make him a great person to spend time in the mountains with.
Growing up in Alberta, Bryn's love for the mountains was ignited in his teens. This eventually led him to move to the west coast to pursue a diploma in Outdoor Leadership. Today, in addition to working as an AST1 instructor, he works as a ski patroller with the avalanche mitigation team on Mount Washington and has aspirations of becoming a ski guide in the next few years. Bryn has skied and climbed across most of western North America and has embarked on climbing trips to Nepal, India and Argentina. He enjoys being able to share his passion and knowledge with others, and is known for his fun and comprehensive teaching style. His ability to bring concepts to life by drawing on real life experience is often remarked on by his students.
Alex loves moving through the mountains any way he can. As one of the three Canadian Forces Search and Rescue (SAR) Technicians fully certified as an avalanche forecaster in Canada, he now trains SAR Technicians in various disciplines, from medical skills to parachuting. He is passionate about teaching, learning, and all things mountain related, making him the perfect instructor for IAG’s AST1, Navigation and Wilderness Survival courses. He is a notably kind and patient teacher with a wide-range of knowledge and experience. A self-professed renaissance man, Alex is always looking for the next thing to learn.
Bill is a passionate skier and climber. Like many of our instructors, a love of the mountains has guided his life path from an early age, and he is keen to share that passion with others. This desire ultimately led him to pursue a teaching degree, and he has been a long-time instructor for the Canadian Outdoor Leadership Training (COLT) program at Strathcona Park Lodge. Decades of teaching and working professionally in the outdoor field have left him with a well developed set of skills. In winters he is a professional avalanche forecaster for Mount Washington, and the Vancouver Island Avalanche Bulletin, which has provided him with an intimate knowledge of the avalanche game. Bill is also a member of the Canadian Ski Guides Association and spends part of his winters guiding at Cat and Heli Skiing operations. When he's not busy guiding, forecasting, and raising a kid, Bill is also an exceptional AST1 instructor on the IAG team.
Brianna was born and raised on Vancouver Island and has developed a deep appreciation for the Island Alps over the last 10 years. She is an ACMG Apprentice Hiking Guide, CSIA Level 1 Ski Instructor, and has her CAA Level 1. Brianna thrives on helping create transformational experiences for her students and clients in an outdoor setting. She works as an instructor for West Coast Adventure College, specializing in land-based navigation and leadership, and as an instructor for Yamnuska Mountain Adventures in their Rocky Mountain Cadet Program. Much of her outdoor work is education based, working with youth in schools and extracurricular programs and teaching a variety of outdoor skills. She is a long time volunteer with the Alpine Club of Canada and volunteered for 7 years with Juan De Fuca Search and Rescue. Brianna is the mastermind behind the IAG Wilderness Survival course, and is known for her capable, kind and thoughtful instructional style. When she’s not instructing or guiding, she’s planning her next climbing or skiing adventure.
Klemen was born in Kamnik, Slovenia. Growing up in the Alps, he started skiing and hiking as soon as he could walk. He has achieved many first accents in the Slovenian Alps. Motivated by his desire to travel he has climbed around the world: Alaska, Canada, South America's Andes and the Karakoram of Pakistan. Shifting his focus to teaching, he became a certified IFMGA Mountain Guide in 2006. His hobbies include developing new climbing areas, travelling and photography. He is trilingual, speaking English, Spanish and Slovenian.
Since 1985 Niko has provided avalanche education in the US, Canada and internationally. He is a Professional Member of the Canadian Avalanche Association. Over the years Niko has stood out as an innovator in avalanche education in North America. Niko Specializes in Avalanche Search and Rescue courses for members and leaders of the BC Provincial Emergency Program and snowmobile specific courses. He’s also worked with IAG in developing curriculum and delivering avalanche training for Canadian Airforce search and rescue technicians.
Originally from Canmore, Alberta, Christine was first introduced to the idea of guiding through a high school outdoor education program. She always knew she wasn’t cut out for an “inside job,” but it wasn’t until 2010, after a detour in photojournalism, that she committed to the path of becoming an ACMG-certified guide -- a path that has been full of almost daily highlights. Today, she is the first (and currently the only) female to pass an ACMG Ski Guide exam on a splitboard. She is also an ACMG-certified Hiking Guide, a CSIA Level 1 Ski Instructor and a member of the Canadian Avalanche Association. While Christine is adamant that she is incapable of sitting still, her clients often note her calm approach to teaching. She strives to create a low pressure environment for learning and exploring, while still supporting clients in their goals. After 16 years in the Sea to Sky region, Christine recently moved to Ucluelet and is excited to explore her new zone.